Spaniards David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Albert Ramos advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa Claro event in this capital, joining two other players from the Iberian nation in the final eight of this clay-court tournament.
Top seed and two-time defending champion David Ferrer had to battle for nearly two hours but he was able to overcome Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) Thursday in a match riddled with service breaks.
Ferrer, who received a last-minute invitation after countryman and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew due to lack of preparation, only won 55 percent of his service points for the match and lost his serve on four occasions.
But Giraldo only won half of his service points and lost his serve five times.
Almagro, the No. 4 seed, got off to a dreadful start Thursday against countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver but was able to rally for a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory.
In the late match, Ramos breezed past Italy's Filippo Volandri 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour.
In the only singles match Thursday not involving a Spanish player, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy eked out a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and will next take on Ferrer in Friday's quarterfinals.
Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Pablo Andujar had earlier advanced to the quarterfinals with wins on Wednesday.
Spanish players have won this tournament, part of the South American clay-court swing, for the past five years, with Ferrer, Robredo and Almagro accounting for four of those titles. EFE